It was way back in 1887 when Harry Johnson first released his comprehensive guide to the work of a bartender, Harry Johnson’s Bartenders’ Manual, and it’s still got a lot to say today 130 years later.
But the world of the bartender has changed a lot in that time, simply because the world has changed a lot in that time. So, come October, there’ll be a new manual for a new era to add to your reading list: Meehan’s Bartender Manual.
Written by Jim Meehan, the man behind seminal New York cocktail bar, PDT (the one you enter through the phone booth in the hot dog joint that’s been knocked off many times since), the book sets out to “explain the ins and outs of the modern bar industry,” and is described by the publisher as his “magnum opus”.
It goes further than the much acclaimed PDT Cocktail Book, in that it discusses not just recipes — there’s 100 cocktail specs in the new book too — but also service philosophies, bar design, hospitality, menu design and more.
And Lucky Peach has just published an excerpt from the book on the importance of etiquette — take a look at that to get an idea of the scope of the work and read the publisher’s description of the book below.
A stunningly packaged, definitive guide to bar-building from one of the world’s most acclaimed bartenders.
Meehan’s Bartender Manual is acclaimed mixologist Jim Meehan’s magnum opus—and the first book to explain the ins and outs of the modern bar industry. This groundbreaking work chronicles Meehan’s storied career in the bar business through practical, enlightening chapters that mix history with professional insight. Meehan’s deep dive covers the essential topics, including the history of cocktails and bartending, service, hospitality, menu development, bar design, spirits production, drink mixing technique, and the tools you’ll need to create a well-stocked bar—all brought to life in over 150 black- and-white illustrations by artist Gianmarco Magnani.
The book also includes recipes for 100 cocktail classics–including Meehan originals–plus insights as to why he makes them the way he does, offering unprecedented access to a top bartender’s creative process. Organized by spirit base, the recipes contain detailed annotations and are accompanied by fine art photographer Doron Gild’s breathtaking, full-color photos. Thoughtful contributions from more than 50 colleagues around the world who’ve greatly contributed to global cocktail culture further contextualize Meehan’s philosophy. Timeless black-and-white portraits of these industry experts round out this comprehensive tome.
This densely informative, yet approachable manual is presented in an iconic package–featuring a textured cover with debossed type, rounded corners, and nearly 500 pages–making it an instant classic to be enjoyed now, and for years to come. Whether you’re a professional looking to take your career to the next level or an enthusiastic amateur interested in better understanding concepts like mise en place and the mechanics of drink making, Meehan’s Bartender Manual is the definitive modern guide.